A referendum veto of a law passed by the Legislature will top the four-question statewide ballot when Maine voters go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Election Day registration goes to voters

Question 1, known as the People’s Veto, asks citizens if they want to reject the section of Chapter 399 of the Public Laws of 2011 that requires new voters to register to vote at least two business days prior to an election.

Since 1973, Maine has allowed eligible residents to register to vote on Election Day. In addition to changing that, the law passed in the last legislative session and signed by Gov. Paul LePage on June 21 would require registration applications submitted by mail or by a third person on the 21st day before Election Day. It also mandates that registrars’ offices be open on the Thursday before each election for at least two hours in a municipality with a population of 500 or fewer; at least four hours in a municipality with a population of more than 500 but fewer than 2,500; or at least six hours, including at least two hours in the evening between 5 and 9 p.m., in a municipality with a population of 2,500 or more.

The law also makes changes to the provisions regarding absentee and provisional ballots.

Question 1 was sponsored by Protect Maine Votes, a coalition of 18 organizations including the Maine People’s Alliance, the League of Women Voters, organized labor, civil libertarians, consumer and public health advocates, and disabled and homeless groups.

A yes vote would reinstate the 1973 law that allows for Election Day registration. A no vote would uphold the changes made in 2011, and outlined above.

Gambling returns to Maine ballot

This fall will be the sixth time in 10 years that a gambling referendum will be on the ballot.

Question 2 asks if Maine citizens want to allow a slot machine facility at a harness racing track in Biddeford or another community within 25 miles of Scarborough Downs, subject to local approval, and at a harness racing track in Washington County, with part of the profits from these facilities going to support specific state and local programs.

According to the website at newenglandpost.com, “Question 2 focuses on a yet-to-be-built (but already approved) racetrack in or around Biddeford as well as the construction of a new racetrack with slot machines in Washington County.”

If approved, these racetrack and slot machine facilities will join Hollywood Slots in Bangor in offering gambling to Mainers and visitors to the state.

Proponents of the expansion of racinos include the Maine Harness Racing Association, the Passamaquody Tribe, and the Calais City Council.

Question 3 asks voters if they want to allow a casino with table games and slot machines in Lewiston, with part of the profits going to support specific state and local programs.

In either case, a yes vote would allow these gambling facilities and a no vote would reject them.

Constitutional change would bring redistricting closer to census

Finally, Question 4 offers a constitutional amendment that would change the years of redistricting the Maine Legislature, congressional districts and county commissioner districts after 2013 from 2023 and every 10th year thereafter to 2021 and every 10th year thereafter.

Among other things, the amendment would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for future redistricting plans, meaning those plans would have to be acceptable to both political parties.

According to the Secretary of State’s Citizen’s Guide to The Referendum Election, available at the website at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming.html, “This proposal would amend Maine’s constitution to more closely align the time frames for reapportioning electoral districts for federal, state and county offices with the federal census. It would also make the process for reapportionment of congressional and county commissioner districts part of the Constitution.”

Currently, legislative districts must be reapportioned based on census data every 10 years, starting in 1983. This means redistricting occurs in the third year after each federal census.

A yes vote would support the proposed constitutional amendment and move the year of redistricting up to the first year following the census. A no vote would leave matters as they currently stand.

The results of the Nov. 8 referendum vote, and local voting results, will be published at waldo.villagesoup.com.